The Tale of Despereaux / Lilianne Ruz

On February 15 I did an experiment. In the elevator I told my neighbors Robinson and Romualdo, “Gentlemen, it’s a shame you can not hear Radio Martí because yesterday I gave an interview talking about Love.”

Silences, glances … “Well,” says Robinson-but you were speaking of Love”

“If it was not only of love, it is my right to express my opinion,” I said.

What I want to show, although we all know it, is that in the minds of Cubans, adults over 50 years, the threat of punishment for expressing free opinion with which we have been educated through the Black Spring of 2003 and the 75 political prisoners, weighs heavily on them. Tell if me if that is right.

A lawyer friend, a very decent women whom I respect and love, told me as a part of her overview of existential possibilities: “In all countries there are laws that must be met.”

“Well, but what about,” I said to her, “if is is the State that is violating my rights? Can I punish the State. It’s true I don’t have the methods to do so because they are not contemplated in the Law. Is that justice? I do not steal. I do not bear false witness against a man who dies on hunger strike without any attention to his demands or to the deterioration of his health. Can I sue the prison guards, the entire apparatus and the prison doctors, the latter for willful neglect? Because even if it was imposed by force of an order that they be negligent, the decision is left to their own conscience even if they have to suffer the consequences of this chain of injustices.”

I go with my daughter to see the film “The Tale of Despereaux” …

“Think about this: What happens when you do something illegal that is a natural part of the world?, Could they make flies illegal, or sweat, or Sunday mornings?”

And the princess: “Have you ever talked about a book? … The story said she was a prisoner, but that was not entirely true because she had hope, and when there is hope you’re not really anyone’s prisoner.”

What use are so many fables to feed the hearts of children, and now we teach our children, where good always triumphs and courage and hope are rewarded?

This is not politics, this is more serious, it is about living or dying.

“It is good to live, horrible to live dead,” Martí used to say. Nothing and nobody can steal the possibility that we have in life to seek the light, to have a star that guides us, a sense, an answer, the company unsurpassed, as Lezama said.

And that is only reached when we do not just dream but when we begin to respond. For what do we need poetry, the Gospels, the Tao Te Ching, meditation, if not to throw the light and be blessed by it, taking part. I do not want any of those things to be burrows because I am not a mouse.

February 25 2012